UM's Drevno: No decision yet on starting QB

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor – This is about as close as you're going to get regarding a decision on Michigan's starting quarterback.


"We'll make that decision when it's ready to be made," Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno said Monday during a news conference in which he and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin spoke to the media for the first time since Aug. 6.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and selected players will meet with media on Thursday in what essentially is the kickoff to game week for the season-opener at Utah on Sept. 3.

Harbaugh, his staff and players have gone to what he called a "submarine" since the start of camp on Aug. 7, and have had little or no contact with the outside world with the exception of opening last Wednesday's practice to the Big Ten Network and then last Saturday's to students.

The lack of news that has come from Michigan's camp clearly has been by design, perhaps in part to hide the Wolverines' hand from the Utes and also in part because that's Harbaugh's style. The brief availability with Drevno and Durkin was probably not intended to shed light on personnel battles, but they confirmed the submarine mentality benefited team chemistry.

Drevno said he has a penciled-in depth chart, and that's because things change every day at every position, although the suspicion is he probably has a good feel for the starting offensive line, the position group he coaches. Competition, he and Durkin said, is ongoing even though the time between now and Michigan's opener at Utah is shrinking.

So will the quarterback be junior Shane Morris, the only returning Wolverine with game experience or fifth-year senior transfer Jake Rudock, a two-year starter at Iowa?

"At one point, somebody will be announced," Drevno said, not trying to be funny, just stating a fact.

Morris, working with his third offensive coordinator in three years, has started two games in his career, including one as a freshman at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl game. He has had the benefit of working with Drevno, Harbaugh and Jedd Fisch, the pass-game coordinator through a spring camp and now this preseason.

"The way he takes command of the huddle, the way he can spit out a play, the way his drops (have improved) — Jedd's done a great job, coach Harbaugh has done a great job — the way he's throwing the ball," Drevno said, when asked how Morris has improved since the spring. "There's a lot of change from him. He's a year older, too, so that makes a difference."

Rudock, he said, has done a good job learning the system. He arrived in Ann Arbor shortly after his Iowa graduation in May.

"(He is) able to call plays and command the huddle and do his job," Drevno said.

Drevno said he's not opposed, in general terms, to playing two quarterbacks.

"There's times you can do that. You could play two quarterbacks if you'd like to, sure," he said, before being asked if that's an ideal approach. "The bottom line is you're preparing to play the game, you want to put the best personnel on the field to try and win the game. If it's part of your package you do, if it's not, you don't feel you gain an advantage, you don't do it."

The Wolverines depart next Tuesday for Salt Lake City, and the assumption is surely by then they will have a solid depth chart. Drevno, however, said there's no hard date for one to be set.

"No, there's not," Drevno said. "When you compete every day, it brings the best out of you as an individual."